Kate Kelly passed away on September 13, 2012 in Seattle, Washington, eight months after being diagnosed with bladder cancer.
She wrote, with her friend Peggy Ramundo, the first book by and for people with ADD: “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or
Crazy”. Published in 1993, it was instrumental in facilitating understanding for and reducing the stigma of ADD for the tens of
thousands of people who have read it.
She died after two weeks in the hospital, following a sudden worsening of her medical condition at an extended family
gathering in Seattle. She had lots of family and friends gathered around her those last few weeks. As our daughter Tyrell put it,
she died in peace, with the same grace she maintained not only during her illness but over her entire life.
Throughout her varied careers as ballet dancer, psychiatric nurse, writer and, in the last chapter of her life, as ordained minister, she thrived at meeting challenges. She was always relentlessly optimistic too, even in the face of the great challenge cancer presented.
For more about her amazing life and to see that optimism in full flower, please visit “Totally ADD” at http://totallyadd.com/our-friend-kate-kelly/ for a wonderful tribute to Kate, including a video from four years ago that nicely captures her wit, wisdom, and that joyous laugh that always made everyone feel right with the world.
On a personal note, Kate was my ex-wife. Long after our divorce, she remained a good friend, not only to me personally but to The Affinity Center, where she worked along with Peggy Ramundo as a coach in the early days, sixteen years ago.
Several years before that, after learning about her own ADD, she helped me discover that I too had another explanation for a lifetime of frustration. I had spent years as a psychotherapist, with a special interest in working with others who had ADD, not realizing that my connection to it was much more direct and personal that I had ever imagined. I can still vividly recall an evening in 1991. Kate was tired but excited after a long day of writing, and she looked up at me at the dinner table and said, “You know, I think you like working with people with ADD because you have it, and it might just help explain your life too!” She was right. If it weren’t for that moment and Kate’s courageous journey leading to my getting treatment, my life would have been profoundly different. Among other things, I don’t think I would have ever finished my doctoral dissertation, and I would never have known the pleasure of simple things like reading, and the joy of being able to sit and to have a real conversation with somebody. Without any doubt at all, there certainly would not have been an Affinity Center either. For all of that, and one terrific daughter, I am profoundly grateful to Kate for being in my life.
Over the past three weeks, her Facebook page has been full of love and praise from family, friends, and many in the ADD community, for whom Kate has been and always will be a healing voice that changed thousands of lives for the better.
Rest in peace dear Kate.
Doug Pentz, Ph.D.
The Affinity Center Co-director